108th Best Warrior Spirit

06/07/2013  |  By Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
The Griffon

Specialist Russell Williams, 98th Training Division (IET), evaluates a casualty during a mystery event for the 108th Training Command (IET) Best Warrior Competition. Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

FORT BENNING, Ga. — The title of 108th Best Warrior may be what draws them --- but it’s the “Warrior Spirit” that will inspire them.

Strength, determination, courage and loyalty. These are but a few of the words Brig. Gen. “Mikey” Kloster, commanding general of the 98th Training Division used to describe how she defined “Warrior Spirit”.

The exhausting five-day command level event held Apr. 15-20 was hosted by the 98th Training Division (IET) and was fashioned to include a series of events comprised of Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. Soldiers vying for the title were tested in strength, intellect, endurance, and character. 

Events included a physical fitness test, an essay, an extensive obstacle course, day, night and urban land navigation, rifle marksmanship, a six-mile road march, and a military appearance board. In addition, competitors completed several mystery events.

Above average in determination alone, ten elite Soldiers from within the three divisions of the 108th Training Command (IET) quickly came to grips with the weight of the demands of the competition while coming to terms with what it means to be Best Warrior.

Day two, with no time to recharge from the previous day’s agonizing events, Soldiers plunged into the harsh welcoming of the unforgiving Georgia heat. Pushing with everything they had, some competitors quickly recognized a newfound relationship with pain.

For Spc. Russell Williams, the road march was definitely the most challenging event he faced during the competition.

“I’m not as young as some of the other competitors so it took a bit more motivation to push myself to make it through.”

Williams, a native of New Jersey, acknowledged that as the next competition approaches he will set aside additional time to train and study.

The winners of the competition are NCO of the Year Staff Sgt. Joshua Allen, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) and Soldier of the Year Spc. Russell Williams, 3rd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET).

108th Training Command (IET) Best Warrior competitors from left to right: 1st row: Sgt. Chauncey Platz, Sgt. 1st Class Shane Hinton, Staff Sgt. Allen Benningfield, Staff Sgt. Paul Abernathy, Spc. Shaun Bockman, Sgt.Gregory Ruske. 2nd Row: Sgt. 1st Class Joel Engle, Spc. Russell Williams, Staff Sgt. Joshua Allen, Staff Sgt. Todd Griffith. Apr. 15-20, 2013.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Smith, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs.

Even after winning the battalion and division Best Warrior title, for Allen, the road to Best Warrior is a long one and competing at the next level continues to be challenging.

“All the events are tough and challenging but the different competitors push you and make you bring the best out of yourself. It was definitely a good experience.”

Prior to the competition Allen revealed the challenges faced being a citizen Soldier, balancing Family, work and fulfilling his obligations as a Soldier.

“Quitting and being defeated has never been acceptable to me. My mission is to compete and show that I’m the best and that is what I will prove.”

When asked if he could offer any words of wisdom to Soldiers preparing to compete in future Best Warrior Competitions, Allen shared that the long-term goal is simple, “Make sure you are ready to work hard and take the lessons along the way. Study everything, prepare for the worst and prepare for the best.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Grady Blue, the 98th Training Division’s Command Sgt. Major said that all the hard work culminates in an amazing feeling of pure accomplishment for the Soldiers and the winners.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment for both Soldiers,” said Blue. They are looking forward to advancing to the Army Reserve level competition at Fort McCoy, Wis.

Competition winners will represent the command in the U.S. Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Competition held later this summer. Winners of the Reserve competition will move on to the Department of the Army level competition.

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